Monday, 13 December 2010

Upcoming work: Das Kapital, Marxism in Africa and Merthyr Tydfil

So, a couple of things are set before me. Amongst the usual shite like coursework, revision and learning Python, I've tasked myself with a couple of things to further broaden and deepen my political and social knowledge.

First of these is to, finally, begin reading Das Kapital. I've just finished David Harvey's excellent The Enigma Of Capital, and need something to read next. After picking Das Kapital up at Socialism 2010 about a month ago I've been putting off reading it, mainly due to the density and the size of the thing (seriously, its massive. Jesus). But, an opportunity to read it within a reading/discussion group has arisen, so I may as well. Plus I'll be using Harvey's great lectures on Capital (available here) to help me along. May Marx have mercy on my soul.

Another task that looks interesting is that my local Socialist Party branch has tasked me of doing a small talk/lead in about socialism and Marxism in Africa, giving me an excuse and opportunity to gush about Thomas Sankara and to actually look into how Marxism has manifested in Africa, something which I admit I haven't given much thought.

Finally, i'm visiting a friend in Wales, in Merthyr Tydfil which was made recently famous by Iain Duncan Smith's recent get on your bikes message to the unemployed people there. It'll give me a good excuse to have a look and find out more about the town, why unemployment is so heavy there and to look at the place where workers first waved a red flag. That sort of thing.

Busy, busy, busy. I will part with this great picture from the tuition fees protest.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Thoughts on the student movement and its future

Yesterday, the government proposals to raise the university fee cap to £9,000 successfully passed with a majority of only 21, amidst a background of heated anger and protest on the streets of London. Many could look at this as a defeat for the student movement, that the battle had been lost and it is time to pack our bags. However, many will look at this as just the beginning.

Student action across the UK, particularly in London, cut the the majority on this issue down from 84. This reduced the majority to a quarter. Although the proposal still passed, a blow was dealt to the already fragile coalition. 21 Liberal Democrat MPs alongside 6 Conservative MPs all voted against the proposal, resulting in the resignations of Jenny Willott, Mike Crockart and others. Nick Clegg assures us time and time again that the Liberal Democrats are united in this coalition, mainly against the pledges and promises they made. However, the cracks in the coalition have begun to show. And it is these cracks we must widen.

The swathe of occupations and peaceful protests over the past few weeks in local areas have been extremely admirable and a testament to what the "apathetic generation" can accomplish. We are a generation awakening to our own power, our own voice. We must make sure this power does not fade and the voice does not die out. We must continue the fight.

This is the beginning of something else, an evolution of the the student movement into a wider and more powerful one. It will be a demonstration of solidarity, unity and resistance. The massive cuts to the public sector and the incoming job losses are unnecessary and purely ideological. It is these ideological attacks we must resist and fight against. In the coming year, there will be strikes, demonstrations and protests undertaken by unions and we students must show our utmost support for them. Only through uniting with those also facing damage from these cuts can we hope to achieve our aim. We must show the current government that those it wishes to attack will not go down without a fight. A loud fight.